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Local woman part of national trend, is expecting twins at age 36

Women across the country are balancing careers with starting a family, and many are choosing to delay their pregnancies.

There's a major shift happening across the United States, and it is a trend that is also happening in El Paso. American women are waiting longer to have children.

Holly Mata, 36, has always been an athlete. She competed in the CrossFit Games in 2013.

“It's definitely a time-consuming sport just to keep up with the younger athletes,” said Mata.

Recently, she has been pushing a different type of weight. Holly is 26 weeks pregnant with twin girls.

She’s part of a national trend of American women, who are having children after the age of 35.

Mata said, “When I had my son, I was 30, and I was really into competing, and I wasn't ready to have another kid right afterwards."

Women across the country are balancing careers with starting a family, and many are choosing to delay their pregnancies.

According to National Vital Statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of women having children over the age of 35 is on the rise.

In fact, birthrates for women in their 30s and 40s are the highest since the Baby-Boom era. Inversely, birthrates for women in their teens and 20s are dropping.

“I think I’m in better shape now than I was with my first son, so it makes it even easier in a weird way. It's kind of easier than it was with my first one," said Mata.

She understood the risks and challenges that increase with age, so staying healthy has been a priority.

But she said waiting until she was ready was the right decision, and has made her able to balance her career with motherhood.

Mata said, “Do what you want to do. Accomplish the things that you want to accomplish."

Gloria Delgado is the director for women’s services at University Medical Center of El Paso. She said the reasons why women may wait to have children vary. “It might be (personal), might be career. It might be religious. It's different reasons why," she said.

According to the data, delaying pregnancy may be a positive. That's because older mothers are generally better educated and have more resources.

Delgado says that at UMC, “Our percentage has in the last two years been 11 percent of all the deliveries are ladies over 35 years old."

UMC is following the national trend. The oldest mother delivering at the hospital was 46 years old. And although medical studies show that complications can increase with age, Delgado says, “Things are going to happen no matter what age you are. If you're going to have a miscarriage, if you're going to have a stillbirth, that is something that nobody can prevent.”

Medical experts agree that the key to any pregnancy is planning and staying healthy. Delgado recommends that women work closely with their obstetrician, so pregnancy is controlled.

Meanwhile, for Holly Mata, with regard to diet and exercise, the transition from competing to pregnancy came naturally. And because women are taking better care of themselves, the window for having a baby doesn't close at 35 anymore.

Mata said, “A lot of my friends still don't have babies that want to have babies and I’m saying, 'It's fine. You have a baby when you're ready to have a baby.'"

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